The best way to explore Antigua is on the road. Driving through the island in a car, windows open, sunglasses on and Caribbean reggae tunes playing loudly on the radio. This is how you get a good feel for the rhythm of the tiny West Indies island. You will see residential areas around the capital, St John, to go past you with sights of colourful, almost playhouse looking constructs. Bumpy roads and their huge potholes make it necessary for drivers to learn to respect one another and be patient as you spend as much time on the right as you do on the left hand side of the road.
A car allows you to reach areas of the island which you might find difficult on foot. The uphills and downhills of the Fig Tree Drive with banana trees towering on the both sides of the road. Or take a turn to the pineapple farm. It is the sole one on the island that is very beautiful, but unfortunately for the locals, not very well suited for large scale farming. Devil’s Bridge is striking particularly on a windy day when you can watch the sea bashing against the rocks and forming beautiful sculptures just for a second.
Antigua is wonderful to explore on the sea. Gliding on the Caribbean Sea on a sailing boat, observing the greenery of the land from a distance, being surrounded by turquoise waters and feeling a warm breeze on your face. Anchoring your boat on a quiet bay and diving into the warm waters to snorkel and swim. Alternatively accessing the seaside in a small kayak and taking stops to observe the plants and living organs of the waters.
Antigua offers so much for those who want to explore the world’s best beaches. Half Moon Bay in the South East is a striking piece of coastland where you are guaranteed to be one of the only ones enjoying its white sands and blue waters. No hotel remains in this part of the island and dirt roads which can be testing for small cars make the bay quite difficult to reach. It is really worth the effort though as your eyes will rest in the tranquil scenery. The carress of the ocean touching the shoreline or hitting against the rocks of the most eastern tip of the island. The stepmarks your feet will leave on the sand of the Half Moon Way will remain there to be found by another explorer of the Antiguan Island.
Turners Beach and Darkwood Beach are on the lively and sociable South Western coast of the island. The beachside bars at Turners or Darkwood beach serve the best fruit or rum punches you need for a relaxing holiday. Stay late enough to watch the magnificent sunsets from your sun lounger.
The fun side of Antigua can be discovered on Sunday evenings in Shirley Heights. This hill with an amazing lookout over the English Harbour holds a traditional Caribbean barbecue, rum punch and music night every week. It may be rather touristic and disappointingly few locals come along anymore. The atmosphere is nevertheless unbeatable thanks to the spectacular sunset, great bands and flair that allows even the most tight lipped to kick back and enjoy life.
A piece of history is the best discovered in the English Harbour. The majestic sailing boats are anchored in the harbour, just like in Admiral Nelson’s times. A small museum tells you about the history of the harbour and island. Restaurant Admiral’s Inn has a sun terrace which is perfect for people watching and reflexion.
For the ultimate “forgot all your worries” experience, explore Antigua’s beach side restaurants like Jacqui O’s or OJs by Crabbe Hill beach. In Jacqui O’s you will enjoy fantastic sea food like tuna tartar, grilled lobster and red snapper in a beautiful setting. Breeze from the sea and a shade of the restaurant ensure perfect climate for late lunch or early dinner.
The ten perfect days in Antigua this winter were my first time in the Caribbean. I was so impressed with the spectacular landscapes, the peacefulness and the friendliness of the island that I never wanted to return to the wintery England after our holiday. Unlike some of the Asian islands, which are certainly beautiful and exotic but also difficult because of malaria danger, begging and extreme poverty, Antigua was purely a piece of paradise on the Earth.
Jabberwocky – Adventure Caribbean Yacht Charters
Telephone: +1 268-764-0595 or +1 268- 779-8198
Mercers Creek, Seatons Village, Antigua
Tel: +1 268-720-4322
Jacqui O’s Beachhouse
Crabbe Hill, Antigua
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tel: +1 268-562-2218
Crabbe Hill, Antigua
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00-23:00
Tel: +1 269-462-8651
Shirley Heights Lookout
Tel: +1 268-728-0636 or +1 268-764-0389
The Admiral’s Inn
Nelsons Dockyard, Dockyard Dr, English Harbour Town, Antigua
Tel: +1 268-460-1027
Avis Car Hire
V.C.Bird International Airport, St. Johns, Antigua
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 7:00-23:00
Tel: +1 268-462-2840
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